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I hope Saudi will permit to open a synagogue

"I believe that eventually they will have relations and that will open up the doors," said Rabbi Abadie.

07 Juli 2021 08:26

Two days visit by Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the end of last month has not only cemented bilateral relationship between twi countries, but also became a symbol of warm ties between Israel with Gulf countries.

As Lapid said, Middle East is a home for Israel and wish to expand normalisation will all neighboring countries in the region, not only with Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, and Bahrain.

Rabbi Elie Abadie who becomes the Rabbi of AGJC (the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) also believes that eventually all those GCC countries will open up to have diplomatic relations with Israel. "I believe that eventually they will have relations and that will open up the doors," he said in an exclusive interview with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp two days ago.

Rabbi Abadie also hope Saudi Arabia will permit to open a synagogue.

Please read: There are a few dozens Jews living in Saudi Arabia

Rabbi Elie Abadie joined the Jewish Council of the Emirates (JCE) in 2020 with a vision to create critical Jewish infrastructure fro local community , including a day school, a mikvah, a Beit Din/Jeiwsh court, and the Arabian Kosher Certification Agency. He is now living in Dubai.

Excerpts:

How important was the visit of Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to UAE a few days ago for relations between Gulf jewish communities with Israelis and also between jews with Emiratis?

The visit of Foreign Minister of Israel Mr. Yair Lapid to the UAE, signals the desire of both countries to develop, flourish and continue in the path of the Abraham Accords. As the term of the agreement says “Normalization”, it is “normal” between two countries to visit each other to support each other and to develop their relationship.

And that relationship and normalization is not only between governments, but between people; between Jews and Arabs and between Israelis and Emiratis.

Do you think there will be many Israeli citizens apply to get UAE citizenship as the ammended act make it easier for foreigners? Or many Israelis already got it?

No, I don’t think Israelis will apply for Emirati citizenship. What Israelis are interested in, is visiting the UAE, enjoy from the tourist attractions, develop relationships and connections in the business, cultural, academic, scientific, technological, agricultural, medical, security and other areas of hunan endeavors.

I don’t know of any Israeli that has Emirati citizenship.

Do you encourage them to apply because there are a lot of economic opportunities in UAE?

They don’t need to apply for citizenship, they can do business as tourist or as residents if they desire to live in the UAE

But by obtaining UAE passport they can easily travel to other Gulf Arab countries which have no diplonatic relationship with Israel, such as Saudi Arabia?

Eventually, I believe that all those GCC countries will open up to have diplomatic relations with Israel.

How can you be so sure?

I hear and I feel the winds of peace blowing.

In the first ones, which country will follow the path of UAE and Bahrain?

I don’t know exactly who and if I know I cannot tell you. But I do believe that there are several countries in the line.

Is there any special meeting between Minister Lapid and AGJC leaders, include yourself, while he was in UAE?

Not that I know. I did not have a meeting with th him because I am out of the country.

Is there any Israeli attention toward AGJC activities?

None.

Until today, is there any report about harassment toward Jews or jewish symbols in Saudi Arabia?

Not that I know. We are looking forward to KSA (KIngdom of Saudi Arabia) to permit religious services to alll faiths.

Have you submitted that request to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Salman?

No, not yet.

When will you submit it?

I don’t have timeline.

Do you believe the jewish community in Arab Gulf countries which have no a formal relations with Israel will get a more freedom for religious activities?

I believe so.

Whose government in Gulf countries already recognized AGJC?

There are no official letters of recognition. But they know about us.

How is their response against AGJC representative in each Gulf countries, especially except in UAE and Bahrain?

Their response is either positive or no comments which in diplomatic language means approval.

How do you see the trend of Jewish communities in the Gulf countries? Do you think there will be significant increase of their numbers within the next five years?

Yes, I believe there will be an increase in numbers within the next five years.

What about in Saudi and other Gulf countries which have no formal relations with Israel?

I believe that eventually they will have relations and that will open up the doors.

In which Gulf countries, except UAE and Bahrain, will be the first to open synagogue?

That’s very difficult to say. I’m hoping it will be in KSA.

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